WWL-TV Settles With Mayor's Office

Public records request led to tangled mess
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NEW ORLEANS: WWL-TV and the office of Mayor Ray Nagin have settled a lawsuit over the politician’s correspondence, according to NOLA.com. The Belo-owned CBS affiliate filed a contempt complaint against the mayor’s office earlier this year for failing to provide email messages and Nagin’s calendar sought under a public records request.

In January, WWL’s Lee Zurik asked the mayor’s office for his email and calendar records from July 1, 2008 through Dec 1, 2008. In February, the City revealed that its technology office deleted many of the messages due to insufficient storage space. The rest provided to Zurik contained many blacked-out entries. The civil court judge on the case ordered city officials to tell the station in writing why information was blacked out.

The City reportedly hired technology experts to recover the deleted email messages, but later fired the firm after it said the material was intentionally deleted by “someone with high-level access to the computer system,” Nola.com said.

NOLA.com, a local news site associated with The Times-Picayune, said the City has agreed to provide all of the mayor’s email messages it can locate by Nov. 30. Both sides agreed to drop pending legal appeals. WWL waived its right to recover attorney fees, but retained the ability to go after them if the City doesn’t abide by the settlement. If so, WWL could stand to collect as much as $35,000 from the City.

More on WWL-TV’s pursuit of City Hall:
“City Hall and television station settle lawsuit over missing public records,”
at Nola.com.